Monday, September 1, 2014

How did

 become this?
With this:
I sorted my scraps into piles.  There is a pink and purple pile.  I am not in the mood for pink and purple right now.  Maybe later.  Maybe never.  The rest went into this pile and one other.   Those two piles became the scrappy quilt.

I needed to sew something and I did not want to create more scraps.  The original intent was to stuff as many as I could into a "IF IT FITS IT SHIPS' USPS box and ship them somewhere.  I still had many strips left over and Nina at the Quilt Zoo suggested that I just use them up in a scrappy quilt.

"Just start sewing."

Sounded like the perfect was to spend Labor Day Weekend.  That is, after I drove to Woodstock to fetch a Singer 201-3. Sigh.

I used a Kenmore for the first batch of scraps.  It's a whiner; though it makes a nice stitch.  I switched to the 301A, long bed.  but it was not so quiet either.  Something clunky in the feed dogs.  (I figured out what the noise is, I just can't fix it)

So then I got out the Necchi.  Very nice.  Very, very, very, nice.  She did very well for a while.  Then, out of nowhere, big loops on the bottom.  I thought that I had fixed that problem.  I changed to different thread, same thing.  I put the spool upside down on the thread holder (the big one, for cones) same thing. 

I cleaned the bobbin case, same thing. 

I finally switched to Guterman thread, top and bobbin.  No problems.  None.   Fancy Italian machine, like Fancy Italian car, likes high test.  The Kenmore and the 301 could not have cared less. 

I finished up the piecing and added some sashing. 
 I finished that this morning and spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out the back.  I had some big pieces left so I had to piece some more.  My goal had been to get it on the frame by noon.  That didn't happen.

Instead I got distracted by the clunky 301A, or the fact that my sewing loft was a sauna and the shop was cool and comfortable.

The feed dogs drop on the 301.  I did not notice the noise when I was using it for FMQ.  I figured that maybe the dogs were  misaligned and hitting something.  I finally isolated to noise to the feed throw out mechanism.  There was a bit of play, even after re-engaging the feed dogs.  I tried tightening the nut and stripped it.  Uh Oh

Lucky for me I bought out some sewing machine parts last winter.  It's true that I have bemoaned the fact that the guy NEVER THREW OUT ANYTHING.  I was very glad to find just the right sized nut to fit that bolt in the feed dog drop.  WHEW.

The noise is still there.  I think it must be from wear and tear; like my knee, or wrist, or thumb.  I certainly cannot figure out where else to tighten anything.  I tired, believe me.  I did, however, fix the height of the feed dogs.  They were too high.  Loosen nut N2 and turn Screw P2 and then tighten nut N2. 

Mom called during all of this and asked what I was doing.  I told her that I was about to put the scrappy quilt on the frame.

"Oh I wish I could be there so I could see how you do it.  Maybe you will send me pictures."

Maybe, I will. Maybe I will just post them on the blog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I don't know why reading those words gives me such pleasure; probably because I have so few things made in Italy. 

This Necchi was given to us last winter.  I did some re-wiring on the light ( and found a motor in the South River stash.  For weeks this machine was sitting on the bench. I finally cleaned it all up and got it stitching.  Guess what?  I love it.  (It smells a bit musty but that is dissipating with time).

 The tension assembly is so classy.  No way did I take this one apart. 

 Basically, this is the same concept as other, end loading, oscillating, shuttles. (Is that an example of the Oxford comma? Is that even grammatically correct?)
 The race cover, however, can't get lost or dropped.  Very clever.
 I was falling in love and wondered if the feed dogs dropped.  I removed the slide plate and saw this. (Oh, I just love that this little piece is stamped "ITALY"

The presser foot pressure indicator is numbered on the face plate.  I am not sure that is all that convenient.  None of the Singers I use have numbered presser foot pressure.  I imagine it is like the tension assy, the number is arbitrary and useful if you need a reference; e.g. when you switch from one type of fabric to another and back again. 
 There is a little tab just above the spring that fits into the slot on the face plate.
 Not such a good shot.  I have dust in the lens.  New camera on the way today from B & H photo.
I used it yesterday.  I had some trouble with thread nests occurring intermittently.  I did all the usual fixes; new needle, wound a different bobbin, good thread.  Nothing helped until I changed from the large cone with the thread holder to a smaller spool on the machine itself.  WTF?  Why that would matter was beyond me.

I watched the thread as it came off the spool today.  When the thread unwound from the bottom, where the spool is wider, it would catch as it came off.  I could feel it when I pulled the thread off the spool.  I fixed that problem.  I turned the stupid spool upside down.  Now it works fine.  I have large cones of thread in neutral colors.  I want to use it up. Practice sewing is the perfect use for it.

Not many people want these old straight stitch machines.  That's why we have them.  I can see that this machine could be treadled.  It might be strong enough, perhaps as strong as my 15-90, to sew through multiple layers.  I may even try some FMQ.  The motor is fast enough. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What I learned on Summer Vacation

How to make Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole and
how to keep my mouth shut.

I am not so sure that my son and daughter-in-law will agree about the mouth.  They did eat the casserole, however.

Now that I am home and released from Granny Nanny duties, the dogs and I have plans for the next week.  Lots of walks, some sewing and some serious sewing machine repair work.

There may be vodka involved, as well, as a spray starch and a parts cleaner  (cough)

Listen Grandma....

You had better get home and take care of these machines!   What the heck are you doing playing Granny Nanny?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wan smile.

 "Honey, can you help me get something out of the car?"

"What is it?"

"A sewing machine cabinet."

He gave me a wan smile.  I knew that he was less than pleased.

"Where did it come from?"


"From a patient?"

"Well, no, actually.  It is an interesting story."

A. belongs to the Necchi Yahoo group and she emailed me about a member from this part of the country who was giving away a Necchi SuperNova.  I somewhat reluctantly advised A. that she could send along my contact information.  The woman contacted me and informed me that the Necchi was spoken for but she had a 500A and two treadles.  I indicated that I was interested in the 500A and that I could drop by after work and take a look at it and the treadles.  After I made arrangements to stop over on Monday, she contacted me to let me know that the Necchi was available and would I be interested.  I told her I would take a look.  So I stopped over after work today and got them.

"So, it's for A., right?  You got the Necchi for A.?"  I could hear the hope in his voice.

"Nope, it's for me.  I want to play with it for a while and then I will give it away."  Another wan smile.  Poor guy.

"Where are you going to keep it?"  The man is full of questions.

"Well, you won't be using your shop while you are in Alaska, right?"  Another wan smile.

We hauled it out of the Jetta. 

"It's not the prettiest cabinet in the world.  Oh but look at that cute little chair.  What is it from, the 70s?"

"Nope I bet the 60s or earlier."

"Oh well it is a cool looking machine.  And what is that other cabinet?"

"Oh, that's from the 500A.  It probably can go to the curb.  But not tonight it is going to rain."

"Right,  it will just become junk," and he hauled it to the barn.

"So, two in, two out.  That's my motto now, honey."

Right.  Another wan smile.

Monday, July 28, 2014


I belong to a Vintage Sewing Machine Facebook Group.  I am conflicted about my membership.  That is another story.  I was lurking there a few days ago.  One of the members was having tension trouble with a Generic HA-1 Class 15 machine.  She posted one of my photos on the post. (  That's ok with me.  I have almost all of my photos stamped in one way or another so I know it's mine.   The tension parts in the photo were from a 201 and not from a 15.  The parts are a bit different.  There is no thread guard on the 15 but there is one for the 201.  The check springs are different as well.

So here are some photos of the parts as they come apart from thumb nut to stud.  I did not take out the stud or the check spring.  I was not in the mood to take the whole thing apart.  I should, though, and replace the check spring.

Push the numbered dial in and release the thumb nut. Screw the nut off completely and the numbered dial slips off.

to reveal the stop washer.  Note the position of the stop washer.
I was surprised to see another stop washer.
To remove the whole assembly with the stud and the check spring attached, you loosen the set screw.  The other larger screw is used to move  the whole assembly within its housing, thus adjusting the check spring. 
I believe that second stop washer is the Tension Release Pin cross piece that releases the discs when the presser foot is lifted.  

That's it.  Not all HA-1s are alike .  I have a Brother that is different from this one.  I believe the Genuine Singer is different as well.  

The problem with this little project is that now I remember how much I like this cute little green machine.  I may have to put it in the treadle stand.  Sigh.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

You Never Miss the Water....

 When I finished the Queen Size DNP, I felt relief along with regret.  I wanted to play some more.  I missed the spirals and loop de loo.  I felt the same way last week when I took the baby quilt off the frame.  I have been having fun quilting.  Now I am anxious to get back to  quilting.  I think I might make one for us. 

I love this quilt.

The quilting isn't perfect.  That's ok.  It is funky and organic.  Suits me. I had fun
quilt back